Our nation has not been this divided since the Civil War. Red State, Blue State, Conservative, Liberal, College Degree, no College Degree. The Divided Fates of America.
As John Ondrasik (Five for Fighting) writes in his song “Slice:”
Have you read my blog today
300 million little USA’s
Your doorstep is just a click away
We’ll get together one of these days
How can you be as nice as me
You’re not from the same slice as me
Where do we go from here my friend
Is this the way our story ends
Hey man sing me a song
When we were everyone
We were more than just a slice of American Pie
Red America is the slice that elected our next Administration. Yet the populist themes espoused to win the election–and to secure the rural vote in particular–will not yield the short-term change people have bought into. Renegotiating trade agreements will take time and have distributed impact. Revising the tax code won’t address the real forces that have made rural main streets look like the impact of a neutron bomb (where the buildings exist but the people do not congregate). The real forces that have decimated rural America relate to globalization, manufacturing efficiency and e-commerce.
What must happen now is a serious strategy for rural America. Such a strategy must heal our civic condition, enhance our civic capacity, implement civic strategies and initiatives, generate civic action and inspire civic commitment.
Anything short of this will miss rural America’s unique position in American history. We are the ones that voted for change. Again. Now we must be strategic about implementing it.
I remember being in a hotel room in Washington DC in 2004. George W. Bush got re-elected that night. Commentators were predicting how the Democrats would never occupy the White House again.
I remember election night 2012. Commentators were explaining how the change in our nation’s demographics would never allow a Republican to ever again become President.
My prediction: we will not wait until 2020 until our discontent again inspires sweeping change. We have too many blogs to broadcast our anxiety.
Yet with all of this consternation, we always vote for hope. Rural America now has hope. Change is on the horizon. The challenge is to channel the individualist passion for change into a collective plan that identifies Rural Strategies and Initiatives that capitalize on our rural Key Success Factors.
The world doesn’t wait anymore for hope and promise to be synthesized into jobs and progress. The clock is ticking. The time is now.